Colorful Red Cabbage and Turmeric Spiked Rice

I have been feeling in a rut with my meal prep, but I felt inspired while shopping at Sprouts! I picked up some beautiful red cabbage and felt like making English-inspired meals for the week. It’s a pretty simple recipe and many of the ingredients are anti-inflammatory like the red cabbage, olive oil, cauliflower, and turmeric. I don’t frequently meal prep with meat, but I was excited to try a new brand of turkey sausage; you can easily replace this with a vegan sausage or other meat alternative. This recipe makes 2-3 servings. ⁣

Ingredients:⁣

-1 8oz bag chopped red cabbage ⁣

-1 tbsp olive oil⁣

-6 cloves garlic (or 1 tbsp minced garlic)⁣

-2 cups riced cauliflower ⁣

-1 bag Miracle Noodle rice🍚⁣

-1/2 tsp turmeric⁣

-1 tsp rosemary⁣

-2 tbsp Braggs liquid aminos ⁣

-1 box Jones All Natural Turkey Sausage⁣ (can easily swap for a vegan friendly alternative)

Directions:⁣

1) Put olive oil and garlic in a large skillet on medium high heat and after 2-3 minutes, add entire bag of red cabbage. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer.⁣

2) Prepare @miraclenoodle rice according to instructions on the bag and place the rice in a separate skillet with the cauliflower rice, liquid aminos, turmeric, and rosemary. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes.⁣

3) Prepare turkey sausage according to instructions on the package (I was lazy and cooked them in the microwave) and add them to skillet with cabbage. Continue simmering for 15-20 minutes. ⁣

4) Serve cabbage mixture with sausage over rice mixture and enjoy!⁣

Use code HANNAH for a discount when you order from Miracle Noodle! 

Colorful, Quick Vegan Dinner for One

I love choosing vegan options when I can; it has numerous health benefits, plus benefits for the environment. Here are just a few of the health benefits:

  1. Your diet will likely include more nutrient-dense foods like fruit, veggies, and whole grains.
  2. Plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of certain types of cancer.
  3. Vegan diets are correlated with decreased risk of heart disease.

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The environmental impact is just as profound; the fewer plant-based products we eat, the less we contribute to the generation of methane and carbon dioxide–two greenhouse gases that impact climate change. There is a misconception that we need to make big changes to make a difference, but that is simply not the case. Making the effort to eat a plant-based even once or twice a week can be powerful. A study from the University of Minnesota found that swapping out one beef-based meal a week for beans or another plant protein, you can decrease your contribution of carbon dioxide by 730 pounds every year.

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Health benefits, positive environmental impact, and cost savings–what’s not to love? I try to whip up a plant-based meal at least once a week and I actively avoid eating beef. Plant-based recipes can be easy and simple. I made this meal in less than 20 minutes!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag Spinach Angel Hair Miracle Noodles
  • 1c cauliflower florets
  • 1/2c chopped bell peppers
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 vegan burger (I like Boca Burgers)

Directions:

1) Prepare Miracle Noodle according to instructions on the bag.

2) Combine all ingredients except burger in a skillet and simmer on medium-high heat for at least ten minutes.

3) While your noodle mix is simmering, prepare your burger (I microwave it because I’m lazy as all get out). Once cooked, chop the burger into small chunks.

4) Add chopped burger into noodle mix and stir well.

5) Enjoy!

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Don’t forget to use code HANNAH for a discount when you order from Miracle Noodle!

 

Southern Made Healthy: A Cookbook Review

 A dear friend of mine works for an amazing publishing company and recently reached out to me about a new cookbook her firm is publishing on Southern cooking. Given that I was born and raised in Nashville, TN, I have a love for Southern cuisine, but unfortunately it’s often pretty unhealthy. Luckily, this Southern cookbook is full of healthy changes to make Southern classics taste good and feel good. I had a chance to interview the author, Lara Lyn Carter, and I learned a lot about her approach to cooking and health. 

Tell me about yourself:

“I am a 48 year old mother of three boys ages 22, 16, and my after 40 surprise is 5. My husband and I have been married for almost 25 years. I love to read historical fiction novels and was a trained dancer when I was young.”

 How did you become interested in cooking?

“I don’t remember not loving to cook. I think because both my mother and grandmother loved to cook and I was always in the kitchen with them that it was just part of me. I absolutely love to cook!”

Why do you care about healthy eating? What prompted your interest in health?

“Just a few months before my 47th birthday I was the heaviest that I had ever been and I was having issues with sleep, acid reflux, stomach problems, etc. I knew that I needed to lose weight and “clean” my body. I also knew that if I did this that it would have to be a lifestyle that I would need to maintain my health. I also was struggling with my youngest sons allergies and trying to figure out how I could help him. I cut out gluten, refined sugars, “bad” carbs and started seeing results in how I felt and my weigh immediately. I also began pushing myself as a chef to create new healthy recipes and reinventing the classics that I love in a healthy way.”

What is your favorite food?

“My favorite foods are anything with pecans in it. I am an absolute nut about pecans. And seafood, particularly crab!”

Doesn’t this crab dip look amazing? Find the recipe in the Skinny Southern cookbook!

What is your favorite southern dish? 

“My favorite Southern dish is definitely fried green tomatoes with Remoulade sauce!”

 What is your number one health tip? 

“I think the best thing that anyone can do for their health is to avoid processed foods and most of all doing away with gluten!”

 Do you have any resolutions for 2019? Any tips for achieving a New Years resolution? 

“My resolution for 2019 is to take more time to just breathe and take a moment to myself. We all stay so busy and attached to social media that I think we don’t take time to just be still and breathe and relax.

The best tip I can give anyone is make whatever your resolution is part of your lifestyle. Just like the way I eat is my lifestyle not a diet. Whatever someone wants to incorporate into their life needs to become part of their life not just something they do once in a while.”

In addition to speaking with Lara Lyn, I had the chance to try out a few recipes from her cookbook! My favorite was the Lemon Blueberry Muffin recipe.

I made it with my boyfriend and we shared a few with his roommates. It was such a simple easy recipe that turned out perfectly. Everyone loved the muffins–common responses included:

  • “These are super delicious”
  • “How are they so moist?”
  • “I could eat so many of these”

Needless to say, these were a hit! Plus, no one could tell they were healthy and gluten free.

Muffins fresh out of the oven!

I can’t wait to make these again and try out more recipes from Skinny Southern.

Look for Lara Lyn’s book on Amazon and in stores near you!

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It’s Squash Season: Savory Stuffed Delicata Squash

One of my favorite fall foods is Delicata Squash–definitely the fotgotten cousin of butternut squash, but it will not disappoint! Delicata Squash isn’t sold at all supermarkets, but you can expect to find it at Trader Joe’s (for $.99–such a great deal).

It has a great sweet, light flavor and is tastiest when roasted to caramelized perfection! Just roasting with a dash of coconut oil and salt makes for a great simple fall side dish.

I decided to get a bit more creative and opted for something different as I meal prepped for my week: savory stuffed squash, featuring lots of ginger and a smidge of miso paste.

Here’s what you’ll need:

– 1 medium sized Delicata Squash

-2 cups green beans (I used frozen)

-3 cups cauliflower, chopped into bite sized florets

-1 bag Miracle Rice, prepared according to instructions on bag

-1 tsp ginger

-1 tsp miso paste

-3 tbsp water, boiling

-2 tbsp liquid aminos

– 2 tsp coconut oil

-red pepper flakes, to taste

Directions:

1) Place Delicata Squash in a microwave safe bowl and stab through skin in 3-4 spots with a fork. Microwave on medium-high for 6 minutes.

2) While the Squash is cooking, combine coconut oil, cauliflower florets, and green beans in a baking sheet and cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 min, stirring frequently.

3) Remove Squash from the microwave and cut length wise–be careful since steam will come out quickly! Let sit for 10 minutes to cool. After Squash has cooled, take a spoon and remove the seeds from both halves.

4) In a large bowl, combine miso paste and boiling water and stir well until mixture is smooth. Add in liquid aminos, ginger, and dash of red pepper flakes.

5) Add cauliflower, Miracle rice, and green beans to miso mixture and mix until sauce is evenly distributed.

6) Now fill each half of your squash with the veggie-rice mixture.

7) Enjoy as a side or pair with a protein for a full meal!

Use code HANNAHOCT18 for a discount when you order from Miracle Noodle!

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Have you tried Delicata Squash? What’s your favorite fall squash?

Making Chocolate in Peru: From Bean to Bar

I went to Peru on an amazing trip a few weeks ago–endless mountains, beautiful views, hiking, and freshly made chocolate. Chocolate was considered a “food of the gods” across much of Central and South America–and we still love it today!

My dad is a hardcore chocolate lover so we scheduled a special class at a Chocolate Museum located in Cusco. Cocoa beans are harvested from a variety of locations; and Peru (and the Amazon) is home to a number of plantations. Not all chocolate is the same–the flavor of cocoa beans changes based on what the plants are growing near. Some chocolate has subtle hints of bitter coffee, whereas other have a more fruity undertone. It’s not always easy to tell, but comparing the two flavor profiles makes it very clear.

After the cocoa beans are harvested, they are fermented and then dried in the sun. This process can take anywhere between one to two weeks depending on how dry the environment is. After the beans are dried, they are roasted. We actually got to roast the beans ourselves during our class. The beans need high heat and slow stirring and you can hear a popping similar to popcorn popping as they get closer to being ready. Our teacher/guide got really into it and asked me to sing to the cocoa beans–to show my love for them. If you know me, you know I always refuse to sing in public. It is simply a no-go for me so I politely declined and felt like a complete spoilsport!

Fortunately, cocoa beans are not dependent on singing and were roasted all the same without the affection of my *lovely* voice.

(*= heavy sarcasm)

Here are the freshly roasted beans with cracked skins prepared for winnowing, which is the process of removing the fibrous husk from the cocoa bean.

After winnowing, you’re left with cocoa beans that look like this:

When you break these up, you are left with cocoa nibs! If you like extra dark chocolate (like me), you would love the tiny pieces that come when you break apart the beans.

The next step is more intensive–grinding the cocoa beans by hand with mortar and pestle to create a smooth, creamy mixture without large chunks. This is when you can start to see how cocoa butter and cocoa powder can both come out of the same beans.

This is most of the way through the cocoa bean grinding process; you can see a smooth mixture start to form and it tastes incredibly rich (and bitter).

After grinding up our cocoa beans, we collectively made xocoatl, which translates as “bitter water.” We made ours with hot water, ground cocoa beans, honey, and a dash of cayenne pepper.

The mix was absolutely delicious and rich, but without the milky richness we often think of when we drink hot cocoa. The idea of mixing in milk with chocolate only came along in the 1700s in Europe.

We learned a lot during the class, but there was not much discussion around the importance of buying fair-trade, eco-friendly chocolate. Cocoa production often leads to deforestation as people chop down trees to make room for lucrative cocoa plantations.

“…a 7-ounce bar of milk chocolate produced from a cleared rainforest has the same carbon dioxide emissions as driving 3.2 miles in a car. Furthermore, a dark chocolate bar of the same size has the same emissions as driving 4.9 miles.” –Hello Giggles

While large companies like Hershey’s and Mars are seeing the perks of doing social good they have made numerous commitments to the environment and use of child laborers. Unfortunately a lot of this is just talk and no action.  With the price decline of cocoa during 2016-2017, a lot of efforts towards fair production took a hit. Farmers bear the brunt of the price dip and can easily end up operating at a loss. There are approximately 2.1 million child laborers working on cocoa plantations in West Africa–and this is after companies have committed to making changes.

One way to make sure you are choosing ethical options include looking for fair-trade labels as well as brands that are “bean to bar,” which means the brand or company is fully involved from the growing of the beans through to the final stages of manufacturing.

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Do you prefer dark or milk chocolate? Did you know how your chocolate was made before reading this?

Miraculously Stuffed Eggplant

I’ve been living life on the fly a lot recently. For the past decade (or longer) I’ve planned every moment down to the second. Planning certainly has a lot of perks, but it makes our brain think in binary, rigid ways sometimes. In an effort to break out of this more, I’ve been actively trying to seek out spontaneity and go with the flow. I found eggplants on sale the other day, so I bought a few and just decided I would let an idea come–and if not, just chop and freeze them! I think living life without a guide, without a plan, without a recipe can be a great asset when you find yourself getting bogged down in and stressed by the arbitrary details.

Ingredients:

-1 eggplant

-1 bag prepared @miraclenoodle rice

-1 bunch fresh parsley, finely chopped

-2 tsp olive oil

-1 cup cherry tomatoes

-1 tsp minced garlic

Directions:

1. Combine tomatoes, parsley, olive oil, & garlic in a skillet and let simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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2. Cut eggplant in half length wise and roast at 350 for 10 minutes.

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3. Scrape out inside of eggplant and mix the pieces of eggplant “insides” into your skillet of veggies. .

4. Add prepared @miraclenoodle rice to veggie mix and continue stirring.

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5. Stuff both halves of the eggplant with veggie/rice mixture.

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6. Return stuffed eggplants to oven and roast for 7-10 minutes at 375.

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7. Enjoy! Feel free to freeze or use the leftover veggie rice in another dish or as a side dish.

This month use code HANNAHFEB18 for a discount when you order from miracle noodle 🍜

All the Colors Miracle Rice

I’ve been trying to have fun in the kitchen to cope with the more recent uptick in stress at work…mission accomplished! I’ve been loving the CSA boxes I get from Imperfect Produce as inspiration, which is conveniently delivered to my doorstep! A recent delivery included purple daikon radish, and oh my, these are delicious. Definitely a mild bitterness, but when cooked with coconut oil it blends perfectly with other flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag miracle rice, prepared according to directions
  • 2 tbsp liquid aminos
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 purple daikon radish
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 heads bok choy

Directions:
1. Chop bell pepper, purple daikon radish, onion, and bok choy into 1 inch cubes (I usually eyeball and guesstimate what a comfortable bite looks like). Toss veggies in 1 tsp warmed coconut oil.

2) Cook all veggies in you air fryer at 375 for 20 minutes, pausing once to stir. If you don’t have an air fryer, feel free to use the oven!

3) Meanwhile, prepare @miraclenoodle rice and add in garlic, 1 tsp coconut oil, and liquid aminos.

4) Combine veggie mix with  rice mixture and enjoy! This would be great with chicken, shrimp, or tofu!

I added some steamed broccoli on top and enjoyed this over a bed of dressed greens on the patio at work (I’m blessed with California’s sunny winter days 😉

This month use code HANNAHFEB18 for a discount when you order from miracle noodle!

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What’s your favorite colorful veggie? How do you cope with stress?

Going with Your Gut with GLG

If you’ve been in my life during the past 6 years, you might know I’ve struggled with a lot of GI issues. Without any clear answers, the various doctors I saw decided it must be IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), which has no real cures. The symptoms are highly varied and flare ups can come at any time. I’ve learned that my trigger is often times of high-stress, but I’ve also learned what foods I can use as tools to keep my gut happy.

I’ve been taking some form of gelatin nearly everyday for the past 3 years and I’ve recently started incorporating collagen as well.

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I have been taking it for a few weeks now, and I’ve heard it takes a bit longer to see and feel all of the benefits that come with collagen supplementation. There are numerous benefits beyond gut health: skin elasticity, joint health, and bone health, to name just a few. Collagen is shown to create measurable improvement in skin hydration and elasticity. [1] There is evidence that collagen can help repair the lining of the intestines, which can improve overall gut health. [2] I am curious to note whether or not I experience any changes in my joint health, although I am lucky enough to have few joint-related issues.  It is full of necessary amino-acids (the building blocks of protein) that keep our skin, hair, nails, joints, and bones healthy.

As a fan of functional foods, especially as an alternative to prescription drugs for treating my IBS, I’ve been pleased with my results from incorporating gelatin into my diet..so I have high hopes for the benefits that come with hydrolyzed collagen! If nothing else, I will have incorporated more healthy proteins into my diet. The regular collagen powder can be mixed into just about anything–your morning cup of coffee, your oatmeal, a smoothie, soup, etc. The cherry-flavored Collagen Endurance product has been a ton of fun to try out as well…

One of my favorite recipes reminds me of little gummy candies–they are my energy gel bites! These are a great pre-workout snack with B vitamins for natural energy and a good dose of protein for satiety.

Ingredients:

-1 scoop Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Endurance
-8 grams gelatin
-1 cup water

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1. Combine Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Endurance and gelatin with 1/2c boiling water and stir until dissolved.
2. Stir in 1/2c cold water and pour into a lined baking loaf tin.
3. Place in fridge for 4-6 hours or into firm.
4. Cut into small squares and enjoy!

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While many companies have recently started popping up promoting their own collagen supplements, I love Great Lakes; the company has been around since 1922 and does research to evaluate the real benefits, not simply hopping on the trendy bandwagon.

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Disclaimer: Great Lakes Gelatin & Sweatpink sponsored this review, however this post represents my honest thoughts and opinions

Sources (because when I make claims, I base them in science):

1: Choi, S. Y., Ko, E. J., Lee, Y. H., Kim, B. G., Shin, H. J., Seo, D. B., … & Kim, M. N. (2014). Effects of collagen tripeptide supplement on skin properties: A prospective, randomized, controlled study. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy16(3), 132-137.

2: Graham, MF. Collagen Synthesis by Human Intestinal Smooth Muscle Cells in Culture. National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3792777>.

Radishes are Red: Valentine’s Day Meal Ideas

I recently received beautiful watermelon radishes in my Imperfect Produce CSA (Community-Sourced Agriculture) box. With Valentine’s Day coming up, I was inspired with the passionately pink-ish red radishes. Radishes have a bit of a bite on their own, so I decided to create a savory sweet dish that diminishes the bitterness, and highlights the beautiful colors.

Ingredients:
-1 bag miracle rice, prepared according to package directions
-1 large watermelon radish, sliced thin
-1.5 cup roasted broccoli
-2 tsp coconut oil
-1 tsp minced garlic
-1 tbsp sliced ginger (sushi ginger)
-3 tbsp Bragg’s liquid aminos
-sriracha, to taste

Directions:

1) Combine all ingredients, besides miracle rice, in a small pot on the stove. Let simmer together for about 15 minutes, or until the radish is tender and the flavor has mellowed.

2) Add in the prepared miracle rice and let sit on low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3) Enjoy! This is delicious on its own, but also goes surprisingly well over greens with an Asian-inspired dressing (think miso, soy, or ginger flavors).

**Use code HANNAHJAN for a discount when you order from Miracle Noodle**

Doesn’t this just look like a romantic Valentine’s Day meal? Although I can’t say your breath will be great..

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Do you like radishes? What’s your favorite pink vegetable?

Salted Caramel Mug Cake (SF+DF)

I don’t know about you, but sometimes all I want are sweets–which is not exactly conducive to a healthy lifestyle. I believe that is moderation is certainly important, but I also love coming up with healthy alternative recipes. It brings me so much joy to develop a recipe that packs more nutrient value and still tastes amazing.

I came up with this salted caramel recipe recently after craving a warm cake late one evening.

Ingredients:
-2 tbsp oat fiber
-2 tbsp coconut flour
-1/2 tsp baking powder
-dash cinnamon
-1 egg (or 1.5 egg whites)
-Almond Milk or water, 3-7 tbsp
-Caramel Syrup
-Dash sea salt
-Dollop of whipped cream (optional)

Directions:

  1. Combine oat fiber, coconut flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  2. Add in egg and 2 tbsp liquid and mix well.
  3. Slowly add in one tablespoon of liquid at a time until you reach cake-batter like consistency.
  4. Pour batter into a large greased ramekin and microwave on medium-high for 2-3 minutes or until the top of the cake is firm to the touch.
  5. Remove the cake from the microwave and pour on a generous amount of caramel syrup, a dash of sea salt (about 1/8 tsp), and a dollop of whipped cream.
  6. Enjoy your own mini piece of heaven!

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What’s your favorite healthy alternative recipe?